This communication was shared with Young Friends Program contacts on April 24, 2019
I’m writing to share with you a change in the youth programs staffing for this summer and some of the next steps.
Lori Sinitzky has shared that, for health and family reasons, she needs to step away from the Young Friends Program Facilitator position. She has recognized that the issues before her will be a demand on her time and her ability to be fully present for this important work. We are grateful to Lori for the loving care she has given the role and the Young Friends community. She brought thoughtful planning and deep listening as well as grounding in Quakerism and support for young people on their spiritual journeys. She has our gratitude and love as she goes forward.
There will be a search conducted to find a new Young Friends Facilitator, and the voices of Young Friends and others in the youth work community will be involved in the process. Aeryn Luminkith continues in her role as Young Friends Assistant, and she will be part of the search committee.
Camp Swatara (May 3-5) will be Lori’s last event with Young Friends. There will be several adults in attendance at Swatara to support Lori and Young Friends, including Aeryn as Assistant. Robert Rosenthal, Karen Gallagher, and Kody Hersh, former Young Friends staff, and I will be serving as Friendly Presences.
There will be time to bid Lori farewell at Swatara. The weekend will also focus on the transitions our youth are celebrating. A traditional ceremony will be held during which Middle School Friends graduate into Young Friends, and Young Friends into the Young Adult community.
Two other upcoming events to anticipate:
Young Friends will gather in residence together with the PYM community at Annual Sessions, July 24-28, and the late summer gathering for Young Friends will be at Camp Onas from Wednesday, August 21 to Saturday, August 24. The late summer gathering is a shorter week this year as an experiment better to accommodate the needs of Camp Onas and hopefully make it possible for more Young Friends to attend at a time when there are other demands on time, like summer jobs and preseasons for sports and music. More information about both events will be shared in the coming weeks, including plans for staffing. We are clear that the priority is to create space for the Young Friends community to gather, grounded in a stable, supportive community of adults and other youth who know and care about this program.
Zachary Dutton, Associate Secretary for Program and Religious Life, and I will host an online conversation for f/Friends interested in asking questions or sharing their thoughts with us. The conversation will be hosted on Zoom (you can join by videoconference or phone call) on Tuesday, April 30 at 8:00pm. You can join us by using this link that evening: https://zoom.us/j/845327012 or dialing (646) 558-8656 (Meeting ID: 845 327 012).
If you would like to reach out at another time, my office number is: 215-241-7171.
We wish Lori well as she embarks on the next chapter. While we are sad to see Lori go so soon, we celebrate that others will get to receive her gifts as warmly as we have.
In faith and service,
Melinda Wenner Bradley
Youth Religious Life Coordinator
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting